is a picture always worth…

a thousand words?  Or do the stories we hold onto shape the narrative a lot more?  My Mom always told me that as a newborn I possessed a striking resemblance to Winston Churchill.  I can’t tell from the photo and I don’t actually really care.  I find it funny.  However, I’ve always held it to be the absolute gospel truth.

What other stories of greater consequence have I never questioned that I was told as a child?  

 

South Dakota—my interior geography

Last week I was in South Dakota for a funeral and a wedding.  In between those emotional events I found some time to drive back roads with my husband, see the stunning late August countryside and find some much needed quiet.  I’m always reminded of how much the prairie landscape resides in my cells, bones and heart.

This landscape gives me clarity, helps me understand my choices and guides me back to my personal True North when I get off course a bit.

South Dakota is my interior geography, no matter where I am in the world. 

Recently, I had to draw a compass at Courage Camp in Bristol, Rhode Island.  I laughed at myself because the way I still figure out directions is to imagine I’m standing on the front porch of my childhood home.  It’s there that I’m most confident in knowing my directions.  (photo below)

IMG_2852Standing on the porch I know which direction the sun sets and how to get to Nebraska. With that knowledge, I can find my way most places.

I often think of my intrepid ancestral homesteaders who ventured West, uncertain of what they would find in the Dakota Territories.  However, and more importantly, perhaps they knew they could handle whatever the prairie offered them. 

I understand that now, at the tender age of 50, in a way I didn’t when I was younger.  I don’t know what’s next, but I know I can count on my interior geography to help guide my way.

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Prairie beauty. 

There is a unique beauty the prairie possesses. The starkness out here is as rugged as the frontier spirit.  This is a part of the world that would prefer things stay known, steady and traditional. It never does. Shifts occur. 

I’m visiting my family in South Dakota now. I can see both the independence I reveled in as a teenager AND the uncertainty about how the world is changing.  Understanding this duality fosters my curiosity about things unknown. I like that. I’m grateful for both my independence and my deep roots here. 

Life is a puzzle, people are puzzling and sometimes all we can do is keep looking between the cushions or under the couch for the piece we’re missing. 

Let’s all keep seeking understanding and looking for the missing pieces folks. Let’s ask more questions of eachother than lecture. I do believe a little curiosity can change the world or at least your holiday table.  It will be a much shorter drive home from Grandma’s if everyone felt heard and respected. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

I guess the prairie is on my mind today…

south-dakota-two-lane-and-graffiti-lillibridge-copy

Shawn Colvin’s “Steady On”

…Cause he seemed like a miracle
I ate it up like cereal
But it was something like shrapnel

Steady on!

It’s like ten miles of a two-lane
On a South Dakota wheat plain
In the middle of a hard rain
A slow boat or a fast train
I am gonna keep my head on straight
I’m gonna keep my head on straight

Steady on!

how do I stop the blur?

I know it’s only July 27th and there’s a lot of summer to still be lived & enjoyed.  However, this morning I felt like some of my summer 2016 memories are beginning to blur.

blur/verb—to make or become unclear or less distinct (Merriam-Webster)

I want to slow it all down.  I really want to be a good steward of my memories. 

How exactly do I go about doing that?

  1. I journal.  Every night I write down 3-4 things that were great about my day. This will help my great grandchildren try to figure out what the summer of 2016 was like for me…but it doesn’t stop the blur.
  2. I try to breathe, savor, soak it in…all of the stuff “Oprah” tells me to do…it still blurs a lot of the time.  Perhaps I’m trying to hard.

After I layered these photos and saw my daughter jumping into the clouds and a beach sign on a South Dakota gravel road I realized that I have to accept that this is the nature of our memories.  Even if we can’t recall everything with great detail and clarity our memories are always a part of us.  They may surface again one day and they may not.  I guess, just like everything else in life the path of least resistance is: ACCEPTANCE.

Here’s to a bunch of sweet summer memories…all blurred together.

lucy jumping boardwalk lillibridge

jeff guitar cape cod lillibridge

south dakota beach sign lillibridge

jeff and lisa on beach airplane shot of sd

“Whenever I think of the past, it brings back so many memories.”

—Steven Wright/comedian